Here are some highlights of Gen Verde’s short, but lively tour in Portugal: art workshops and concert in Braga, show at the Algarve stadium, workshops and performances at WYD in Lisbon… a tour that went from strength to strength!
A two-week tour that began in Braga, where Gen Verde held the ‘Start Now Workshop Project‘ in collaboration with Projecto Homem Braga, together with a wonderful group of young people from Spain and Portugal. It ended with a concert in the Altice Forum Braga auditorium.
One of the most moving moments of the first stop in Braga was Gen Verde’s visit to the Projeto Homem Braga Rehabilitation Centre. One of the members of the staff said: “We are usually hesitant to invite people from outside to the centre, because we don’t want to disrupt the recovery process of our residents. Today I can say on behalf of all the staff that we are very happy that you are here because you have brought a very deep joy to everyone”.
Second stop: Algarve
From there, Gen Verde headed to Algarve, where they participated in the ‘Days in the Dioceses’, as part of the official closing event programme of the Pre-WYD in the city of Faro. On 31 July, after Mass, Gen Verde held a concert in the Algarve Stadium, where thousands of young people sang and danced their hearts out to “Girl On A Mission (Magnificat)”, the song composed by the band for the World Youth Day.
Start Now Workshop Project at WYD in Lisbon
Finally, they reached Lisbon, where on the 2nd of August, in the jam-packed ‘Auditório da Faculdade de Medicina Dentária’, they held the concluding concert of the ‘Start Now’ workshop programme in which 100 young people from around 10 countries had participated in the previous days: the energy of the show was unbelievable! And given that it was totally sold-out, many made sure they arrived early two days later for Gen Verde’s performance at the Halleluya Festival.
If anyone doubts the relevance of God and faith for young people, they should take a serious look at the response of the million plus young people who came from all over the world for the WYD.
One of the young participants of the project said: “Some people dream of meeting footballers, actors, politicians. I dream of meeting those who change the world around them with their everyday actions, regardless of creed or culture, making the world a better place. This dream is coming true at WYD2023: Gen Verde you are those people who, through music and art, bring transformation to many young people. Thank you from the bottom of my heart”.
““For us in Gen Verde it was great to catch up with so many groups of young people that we have met on our tours over the last few years. It was extraordinary to see how the relationships built with young people during our workshop programmes remained and it was great that they brought their friends along to the events we were performing at during the WYD”, said Gen Verde manager, Sally McAllister (Ireland).
Rise-Up Catechesis and “Canto pela Paz”
During the WYD week, Gen Verde also participated in the second day of the Rise-Up Catechesis, organised by the Focolare Movement, where they sang in front of more than 7000 young people and animated the mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Anthony Fisher OP.
Another event where the band performed that week was during the International Peace Festival ‘Canto pela Paz’, organised by Living Peace International.
Gen Verde concert at Halleluya Festival
Last, but not least, was the Gen Verde concert on Friday 4 August, in the Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques, as the closing event of the ‘Halleluya Festival‘ where thousands of young people from many countries sang, jumped and danced along with the band, in an unforgettable moment.
The co-president of the Focolare Movement, Jesús Morán, was present and this is his feedback: “Gen Verde’s performance on Friday night was powerful. I was very impressed by the unity between them, the mutual love, so it was a choral expression of the Gospel made music. They all gave everything they had and you could see it. And the young people were overjoyed, they were all taken by the rhythm, the music, but also the in-depth moments, which are not lacking in the songs. The young people showed they could also pause for a moment of recollection. As I have said on other occasions, it seems to me that Gen Verde has a very powerful energy. It uses the right language to speak to young people today and this was demonstrated in the concert”.
Jesús Morán added: ““I told the members of Gen Verde that after the very deep Via Crucis that we experienced, they expressed very well with the language of music, of pop-rock, the ‘fifteenth station’ (of the Way of the Cross) which doesn’t exist, but everyone imagines it to be the sign of the resurrection. Because the concert was an ode to resurrection, to joy. Deep, true joy. In brief, that’s my impression: it was beautiful, a very, very high-quality live performance, a very powerful energy, professionalism and a very deep unity between them. I believe this is the right way to communicate the Gospel in the musical language that young people like so much”..
Sally McAllister concludes: “It was a fantastic moment! There was an energy that’s difficult to define – that park was rocking! This week was so full of special, grace-filled moments that none of us will ever forget. It’s impossible not to be changed, encouraged and strengthened by an event of this magnitude! We all are coming away different from this”.
In the next weeks, Gen Verde is preparing for its next tour in the USA, where they’ll travel for 2 months to meet lots of communities, dioceses and the Focolare and Vincentian Family. To know more about their tour: www.genverde.it/tour